Loggers falter in second half, lose rivalry game with PLU

Loggers falter in second half, lose rivalry game with PLU

PUYALLUP, Wash.—Facing cross-town rival Pacific Lutheran, the Puget Sound football played a defensive first half, going into halftime tied at seven. The Loggers faltered in the second, however, and fell 41-21 Saturday at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Wash.   

The first quarter was a defensive struggle as Puget Sound punted three times in the quarter and Pacific Lutheran booted the ball away twice and turned it over on downs once. The Loggers gained just 35 yards in the quarter, 19 on the ground and 16 through the air. The Lutes tallied 52, 23 rushing and 29 passing yards. The Loggers did benefit, however, from a 34-yard return from Connor Savage to begin the game.

Pacific Lutheran broke the deadlock in the second quarter, scoring on a nine-yard touchdown catch by Kyle Warner. On the ensuing Logger drive, quarterback Braden Foley was picked off by the Lutes' Greg Hibbard, but the Logger defense forced one of their five punts on the Lutes' drive.

After forcing another PLU punt later in the quarter, the Loggers capitalized on a poor punt by PLU's James Swinyard, getting the ball back at the Lutes' 34 yard line. With the favorable field position, Puget Sound needed just five plays to punch the ball into the end zone, capped with Foley connecting  with Kevin Miller for a nine-yard scoring throw. With the touchdown pass, Foley passed former Logger Ivy Iverson for most touchdown throws in a career at Puget Sound, notching his 41st. As Sawyer Petre added the point after, the teams headed into the locker room tied at seven.

On the Lutes' second possession in the second half, Max McGuinn tackled Swinyard 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage during a punt attempt, giving the Logger offense another drive with great starting position, the Lutes' 15 yard line. This time the Loggers needed just two plays to score, with Josh Gilbert catching a pass at the one yardline and Kupono Park rushing for his third touchdown of the season.

The Lutes, however, put the game out of reach in the next 22 minutes of game action. After Park's touchdown run at 10:52 left in the third, the hosts scored the next four touchdowns, with Dalton Ritchey running in two of them. Puget Sound salvaged one last score, a 45-yard catch from Foley to Peter Bell with just over three minutes remaining in the game, but PLU iced it with another Ritchey touchdown run with 50 seconds left in the game.

Ritchey threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns, adding 70 yards and three scores on the ground. Foley, on the other hand, threw 184 yards and two scores, and both quarterbacks threw an interception. PLU's Niko Madison led all rushers with 73 yards on the ground, and he also caught five passes for 88 yards, the most in the game in both categories. Bell's 45 yard catch was his only one on the day, but it was still enough to lead the Loggers, while Dustin Harrison caught five balls for 42 yards.

Punter Jeff Walton had a busy day, punting the ball 10 times for 303 total yards, pinning the Lutes inside their own 20 once.

Defensively, defensive back Jacob Wuesthoff and linebacker Chris Beaulaurier both tallied 11 tackles, Wuesthoff gaining eight alone and Beaulaurier tallying nine solo tackles. He also forced a PLU fumble, recovered a fumble, and tallied half a sack and one and a half tackles for a loss. Linebacker Max Mirande notched nine tackles, but also sacked Ritchey two and a half times for 20 lost yards. He also forced another Lute fumble. Savage also intercepted Ritchey once, returning that botched pass forty yards.

Puget Sound (1-6, 0-4 NWC) is back on the road next Saturday, Nov. 9, playing their final road contest of the season at Linfield. Their final home contest is Saturday, Nov. 16, against Willamette.